Turnout and Fraud Fears Soar in Days After Afghan Vote

Turnout and Fraud Fears Soar in Days After Afghan Vote

“I am not going to lie, I didn’t see many people coming out to vote,” said Abdul Qayum Kohi, a local elder from Qaisar district, in Farayab. “There was fighting everywhere, mortars landing. Many people were too afraid to come out.”

Abdul Wahed Nasery, another elder from the district, said local strongmen had stuffed the boxes.

“They sat together, and each filled for their guy. They were saying, ‘We can’t leave these boxes empty,’” Mr. Nasery said. “We said, ‘But what about the biometric verification?’ They said, ‘Who is going to look?’”

After Kabul, the largest number of votes came from the eastern province of Nangarhar, with 255,000 votes. In addition to the Taliban threat, several of the province’s districts are intermittently threatened by members of the Islamic State, ensconced in the province’s Achin District. The provincial capital, Jalalabad, has been the target of frequent bombings.

Conversations with voters in several of the province’s districts suggested that while in some areas people voted in higher numbers than expected, in others concerns were high that ballot boxes had been stuffed late in the day.

One district in Nangarhar under particular scrutiny is Chaparhar, home of Fazlhadi Muslimyar, the speaker of the Senate and a campaigner for Mr. Ghani. On Tuesday, from his Senate seat, Mr. Muslimyar threatened the Election Commission’s chief, Hawa Alam Nuristani, who had said only biometrically verified votes would be counted.

“We will force even her daddy to count the non-biometric votes,” Mr. Muslimyar declared, in a televised speech.

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